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How IKEA is boosting in-store traffic via mobile social geotargeted ads

An IKEA store saw a 31 percent lift in store traffic from 22- to 25-year-olds and an 11 percent lift from 26- to 35-year-olds following a geotargeted Facebook ad campaign that ran in the social network’s News Feed.

Overall, the IKEA store saw an 11 percent increase in store visits among more than 172,000 consumers who were served the ads compared to an otherwise identical group of the same size who had not seen the ads. The results suggest that Facebook ads are driving foot traffic for retailers.

“Marketers have not yet been able to directly link Facebook ads to in-store traffic and sales at this point,” said Brian McDaniel, account supervisor at iProspect. “That said, the consumer has their mobile with them at all times and advertisers can pick up on their activity based on location.

“By knowing where they are, you can then target them with specific messaging related to a nearby store with the intent of raising awareness of an in-store promotion and driving the sale,” he said.

“For the majority of our clients, we focus on how Facebook can drive their eCommerce site. However we  douse Facebook to promote store openings for brands ranging from teen specialty to luxury. The sophisticated targeting allows us to do this successfully for very different brands with very different target audiences. Targeted can be accomplished not solely on interests but household income and affinity with complementary, non-competing brands.”

Social, local, mobile
While the spend on Facebook advertising has been quickly growing because of the amount of time that consumers are spending there, there has been a lack of quality data about how effective these ads are.

The question of effectiveness has been particularly thorny on mobile, where much of the time spent on Facebook is happening, because of the complexity of the ecosystem.

For bricks-and-mortar retailers, being able to drive traffic into stores is important because this is still where the lion’s share of their sales are happening. As a result, many are looking beyond simple social advertising and at strategies that combine location and mobile with social for the biggest impact.

The geotargeted IKEA campaign delivered ads on Facebook in the British city of Cardiff during December 2013 and January 2014, with 1.4 million impressions served overall.

The ads were created by IKEA’s social agency Isobar, which is part of the Dentsu Aegis Network.

The additional store traffic generated by the campaign helped the campaign deliver a return-on-investment of 6:1.

User insights
To determine the effectiveness of the campaign, Vizeum and iProspect – also part of the Dentsu Aegis Network – teamed up with Facebook and British wireless carrier EE to anonymously match Facebook use and EE data.

EE analyzed device activity within a geofenced area around the IKEA store, removing staff, people who lived in the area and passersby. The EE data combines anonymized and aggregated mobile Web and location data for user insights.

IKEA has been quickly building up its mobile chops.

Last summer, the chain enhanced the shopping experience for its product catalog using augmented reality (see story).

IKEA also introduced an iPhone application that lets consumers browse its collection and find in-store items (see story).

“Paid social is now a must for marketers given that most people/consumers live & breath social on a daily basis,” said Brittany Richter, supervisor of social media at iProspect. “Retailers should first understand what they want to gain out of their social channels – awareness, likes, followers, driving traffic to the brick & mortar site or driving sales on-line.

“Retailers have a major opportunity to get creative with targeting segmentation, breaking down their larger target audience in to different segments, and targeting them with personalized content,” she said. “These platforms know a lot about their users, and advertisers should be using that to the brands’ advantage by serving relevant and somewhat personalized content that resonates and inspires or motivates action.

“There is also opportunity, especially planning for Holiday, to target not just those who purchase, but those who influence the purchase, or gift their purchase, adding an additional layer of personalization.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York